Claire's Tips, Trends, and Educational Gems: VDA Storytellers (Don't get mad VH1)
VDA Storytellers: Yeah, this is a spinoff...Sorry, VH1.
I recently read an article about how important story-telling is in the sales process. This article emphasized a few key points in how to tell the story effectively including: being holistic, interactivity is king, and the importance of having a beginning, middle and an end to the narrative. This got me thinking about how essential story-telling is in the event-world. Today, more than ever, the event experience needs to be a carefully crafted design, capable of grabbing the attendees’ attention, disseminating the crucial information quickly and concisely and leaving them with a memorable experience. Really, the guidelines for creating a successful event are the same as the structure for creating an amazing story.
Creating holistic Events: The idea behind this tip comes down to engaging both the left and right side of a person’s brain. Did you know? Logical, organized thinking is often required for career duties, financial responsibilities and decision making. The human brain is divided into two sections, and the left side that controls analysis and organization sometimes becomes the most dominant. This left side dominance may result in a loss of the ability to be creative. Exercising the right brain can help to engage visual and intuitive thought processes, helping you to use all of your brain every day. Inevitably, there will be information (hard facts, charts, numbers etc…) that is the basis of the meeting/event. Statistics, facts or figures will have to presented to the group, but the trick is to showcase it in a way that is interesting and engaging.
A long quarterly meeting is much more exciting with a dynamic stage set and lighting.
An annual meeting is far more stimulating when there is a theme that ties the general session to the breaks and the cocktail reception.
Interactivity is King: Gone are the days of the talking heads! Even keynote speakers tend to involve the audience at one point or another! General sessions are more exciting when each attendee can participate with individual microphones or survey instruments. Better yet, create the interactivity within the event after the meeting. Idea: VDA designed an event where the attendees were able to tweet messages that were projected directly to screens surrounding the room during a sales kick off. The screens served as a means of communication as well as part of the room décor. This interactive activity boosted attendee participation tenfold.
Creating a narrative arc at your Event: Talk to any screenwriter or author and they will tell you the importance of having a “narrative arc,” or a fancy way of saying that every story needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. The same thought process is true for events. There should be a buildup starting from the beginning whether you are planning a one day seminar or a week long incentive trip. Creating a sense of anticipation and building the excitement of things to come is key. The attendees need to “buy in” to the experience and leave feeling satisfied and with lasting memories.
Remember, without story-telling you would only be appealing to a very small percentage of the populations that reacts favorably to dry, hard facts and figures. While those elements need to be incorporated into your event, using the tips above will ensure that the information retention rate is higher, attendees are happier and your events are overall a huge success…That's my story. Now, design yours!
And just in case you want to catch up on the latest VH1 Storytellers...I owe them.
Feeling creative? Let's talk! I would enjoy connecting with you and learning about the vision you have for your next event. Connect with me via email at Claire@vdaproductions.com or by calling 617-628-1200. You can join my conversation on Twitter: @clairefidelman
Until next month!